Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 8, 2021

Union Square Kids: Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, illustrated by Tom de Freston

Tor Teen: Into the Light by Mark Oshiro

Peachtree Teen: Junkyard Dogs by Katherine Higgs-Coulthard

Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz and Rob Schwartz

Neal Porter Books: All the Beating Hearts by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Cátia Chien


Papercut Books Opening in Wilmington, N.C.

Papercuts Books is expected to open by the end of March in Unit 100 at 200 Market St., Wilmington, N.C. In addition to new and used titles, "the offerings will include jewelry and other gifts, including some toys and games. The store will also sell sets that pair books with gifts," Wilmington Buzz reported.

"I was part of a family business [Bulk Power LLC] before this and we sold at the end of 2020... so I was looking for something new to do," said owner Holly Bader. "We happened upon the perfect spot in downtown Wilmington and just decided to go for it." She added that working in a family business helped teach her how to run one, and books are a lifelong love. "I've been a huge reader my whole life."

Bader added that the space and location were the perfect place for her store "because it's right in the middle of where everything starts basically downtown. We're close to great stores and restaurants." 

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Loyalty by Lisa Scottoline

Big Little News: New Seattle Shop Co-Owned by Elliott Bay GM

Big Little News, a newsstand and bottle shop, has opened in the Pike/Pine section of Seattle, Wash., Capitol Hill Seattle reported. Big Little News is owned by Tracy Taylor, longtime general manager of Elliott Bay Book Company, and Joey Burgess, an area LGBTQ nightlife entrepreneur.

The two worked together in particular "representing the neighborhood as Pike/Pine pushes and pulls on Seattle City Hall for attention and resources the busy but challenged neighborhood has faced over the past months and recent years of explosive growth," Capitol Hill Seattle wrote. Taylor added: "We've worked together on this neighborhood-y, city stuff for a while, but we've looked for a project and this just opened up."

Big Little News carries more than 250 foreign and domestic magazines, newspapers and zines, as well as beer, wine, champagne and other sundries.

Capitol Hill Seattle said that Taylor "provided an eclectic mix of recommendations" and commented, "This year I've read fewer books. I've listened to more books. For me, it's been an attention span thing. Magazines kind of fill that niche that's not a tweet."

GLOW: Tordotcom: The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill

International Update: U.K. Bookshops Reopening a 'Huge Landmark', Bookstores in Paris Latin Quarter Struggle

The reopening of bookshops in the U.K. in April and potential return of live events by summer will be a "huge landmark" for the book industry, according to publishers who spoke with the Bookseller last week about the implications of the government's roadmap out of lockdown.

"It's excellent that booksellers will be able to open their doors again in April. They are vital for the health of the books industry and play an important role in communities," said Stephen Lotinga, CEO of the Publishers Association. "Welcome too is the news that, if all goes to plan, events will be able to go ahead later in the summer. Celebrating books together again will be a huge landmark for the industry."

Georgina Moore, director of books and publishing at Midas, said: "One of the hardest parts of lockdown has been feeling cut off from seeing word of mouth in action, not being able to feel the buzz of a campaign in the green rooms and festival tents, and not to be able to work alongside and in person with booksellers and festival programmers to get authors to their readers."

Ian Chapman, CEO and publisher of Simon & Schuster UK, observed: "Our publishing for this year is exciting and we are looking forward immensely to bookshops reopening and I would like to thank every bookseller profoundly for their unwavering support during this past year."

HarperCollins UK CEO Charlie Redmayne said the government's roadmap out of lockdown and the fast pace of the vaccination program "show there is real light at the end of the tunnel. Schools reopening will be a great relief for families and the news that bookshops will soon be able to open is very welcome--that day cannot come soon enough.

Nigel Newton, managing director at Bloomsbury, said that "many uncertainties remain including passing the Prime Minister's four tests but it is joyous that we now believe that the vaccine will give us a way out of this. It is also joyous that booksellers may reopen from April."


Citing the upcoming closure of Gibert Jeune's flagship store, as well as other bookshops, in the Latin Quarter, the "historic literary and intellectual heart" of Paris, AFP (via the Local) reported that in the face of "competition from online sales and internet giant Amazon, 43% of the quarter's bookstores have vanished in 20 years, according to figures from the urban planning agency Apur." The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the trend.

City authorities, through the semi-public company Semeast, are proposing rents slightly below market rates and "relocation with a focus on a model that works--small local bookshops that can also offer refreshments, according to official Olivia Polski. The initiative is based on the discovery that in Paris, as in the rest of the country, it is local bookshops which are offering the sector a glimmer of hope," AFP noted.

Despite a 3.3% sales decline in 2020 due to three months of closures during the Covid-19 lockdowns, independent bookshops have generally returned to growth since 2017, according to the Union of French Bookshops. SLF's Guillaume Husson said there "is a social aspect which is essential today if you want your bookshop to work," and that book lovers are seeking from "smallscale sellers."


Bestsellers bookstore in Budapest offered some pandemic-related advice to customers on Facebook last Thursday: "You probably have all heard about the latest restrictions in Hungary: All shops, with the exception of grocery stores, drugstores, pharmacies and gas stations, must remain closed for a two-week period beginning March 8, next Monday. Although our bookstore won't be open during the next two weeks, we will be here at the shop answering your e-mails and phones and also processing your orders!"

The shop followed up with additional posts on Friday ("Breaking news: we are open this Sunday.... Also if you want to avoid the Saturday crowds, and would like to browse peacefully our shelves to stock up for the lockdown, you are welcome on Sunday afternoon.) and Sunday ("Bestsellers is waiting for you with an open door and lots of books today.").


In Egypt, the American University in Cairo Press tweeted: "This is how many books one customer bought yesterday at the ongoing Mad March Book Sale! Yup! One customer! So you may very well find a book or two that are of interest to you."

Soho Press: Black Dove by Colin McAdam

Obituary Note: David G. Barnett

David G. Barnett, a longtime horror book publisher, editor and writer, died last month.

Barnett's day job was running Fat Cat Design, which designed books for many small press publishers. Since 1993, he also ran Necro Publications, which includes Bedlam Press and Weird West Books. Necro publishes Edward Lee, Joe R. Lansdale, Charlee Jacob, Gerard Houarner, Mehitobel Wilson, Jeffrey Thomas, Patrick Lestewka and dozens of others in various anthologies. Among anthologies Barnett edited and co-edited were Damned: An Anthology of the Lost, Into the Darkness Vol. 1 and Chopping Block Party.

Barnett's own work has been published in several Shivers anthologies from Cemetery Dance Publications. He also has a story in the two-author chapbook The Baby, along with Edward Lee. His collection, Dead Souls, was published by Shocklines Press in 2004. The Fallen: Book 1 and Neon Wings were part of a series, and he also wrote the novella Spying on Gods.

Weiser Books: Mexican Sorcery: A Practical Guide to Brujeria de Rancho by Laura Davila


Cool Idea: Books Are Magic Stickers Support Women's Prison Association

In part to celebrate International Women's Day, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, N.Y., is participating in an effort to support the Women's Prison Association's Galentine's Day Fundraiser, which raises money for new personal items for women transitioning out of incarceration. Until the end of the day, the bookstore is taking preorders on a Readers for Abolition sticker sheet that it created, with all proceeds going to the WPA. For more information, click here.

Unboxing Video: Boulder Book Store's Epic Shambhala Buy

In the latest YouTube video from Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colo., head buyer Arsen Kashkashian "gives us a look behind the scenes as he sorts and assesses a once-in-a-career buy. Boulder's own Shambhala Publications is moving their offices, and has sold our store over 11,000 extraordinary Shambhala and Roost Books titles. Arsen blind-opens a random box, and shows us our 'hidden' storage area that we've never used before."

B&N's March Book Club Pick: We Begin at the End

Barnes & Noble has chosen We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker (Holt) as its March national book club selection. The book will be the focus of a live event on B&N's Facebook page featuring Chris Whitaker in conversation with A.J. Finn on April 6.

"We Begin at the End is a fantastic, character-driven story about families, both those you are born into and those you create," said Jackie De Leo, v-p, bookstore. "This riveting and beautifully-written novel will take readers through a whole range of emotions. I love it when I have a book that I can put into everyone’s hand, and We Begin at the End is exactly that type of book."

Chris Whitaker said, "I started writing this book almost twenty years ago and didn't ever imagine it being published. So, to say that having the support of the mighty B&N is a dream come true would be a lie--I didn't ever dream this big. Thank you to everyone at Barnes & Noble, I will be forever grateful to you."

Personnel Changes at the Experiment

Melinda Kennedy, formerly marketing manager at University of Chicago Press, has joined the Experiment as senior publicist.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Walter Isaacson on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Julie Tanous, authors of Food Between Friends: A Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, $32, 9780593136539).

Also on GMA: Diane von Furstenberg, author of Own It: The Secret to Life (Phaidon Press, $14.95, 9781838662226). She will also appear on the Drew Barrymore Show.

The Real: Sister Souljah, author of Life After Death: A Novel (Atria/Emily Bestler, $27, 9781982139131).

Tamron Hall: Norma Kamali, author of Norma Kamali: I Am Invincible (Abrams, $35, 9781419747403).

Fresh Air: Walter Isaacson, author of The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781982115852).

Good Morning America: Angeline Boulley, author of Firekeeper's Daughter (Holt, $18.99, 9781250766564).

TV: The Runaway Bunny; We Own this City; Magpie Murders

HBO Max released a trailer and key art for The Runaway Bunny, an animated special based on the classic children's book by Margaret Wise Brown, Deadline reported. Tracee Ellis Ross narrates and performs an original lullaby by Brown in the special, with songs also performed by Mariah Carey, Kelly Rowland, Rosanne Cash, Ziggy Marley, Kimya Dawson, Rufus Wainwright and Michael Kiwanuka. Premiering March 25, The Runaway Bunny is produced and directed by Amy Schatz (Goodnight Moon & Other Sleepytime Tales, the Classical Baby series).


HBO has greenlighted a new project from The Wire's executive producer David Simon and producer George Pelecanos. Deadline reported that casting is already underway for a limited series based on Justin Fenton's book We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops and Corruption, which Simon and Pelecanos are writing and executive producing.


Timothy Spall (Mr. TurnerSummer of Rockets) has joined Lesley Manville to headline PBS/BritBox crime series Magpie Murders, based on the novel by Anthony Horowitz, Deadline reported. Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty) is directing the project, which goes into production this week in England and Ireland. Magpie Murders is an Eleventh Hour Films production for Masterpiece and BritBox UK, with Sony Pictures Television distributing worldwide. It will premiere next year.

Books & Authors

Awards: Stella Longlist

The longlist for the 2021 Stella Prize, which celebrates Australian women's writing, has been announced. See the 12 titles here. The shortlist will be announced March 25.

Book Review

Review: The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone by Nona Fernández, trans. by Natasha Wimmer (Graywolf Press, $16 paperback, 192p., 9781644450475, March 16, 2021)

In The Twilight Zone, Nona Fernández (Space Invaders) uses her considerable empathetic power as a novelist to penetrate the darkest corners of Chile under Pinochet's dictatorship. Fernández blends historical facts and seemingly autobiographical details with what can only be imagined, reconstructing not only the inner lives of people tortured and "disappeared" by the regime's security apparatus, but that of one of the torturers. The chief figure in Fernández's book is the very real Andrés Antonio Valenzuela Morales, who in 1984 confessed shocking secrets that were eventually published under the headline "I TORTURED PEOPLE." Fernández uses Morales as a starting point to explore "the machinery of evil," a "parallel and invisible universe" of medieval torture and arbitrary executions.

The Twilight Zone sets out to answer questions that are unanswerable, questions separate from the thuggish reasoning behind Pinochet's reign of terror. Instead, many of the questions Fernández seeks to answer are about memory, collective trauma and denial:

"Whose images are these in my head? Whose screams?... Is there some fine line that separates collective dreams?... Do these images creep into your mind, too, and keep you awake? Will we ever escape this dream? Will we ever emerge and give the world the bad news about what we were capable of doing?"

Fernández refers to the world of interrogation cells and electric shocks as "the dark side," a "secret dimension" or "the Twilight Zone." Just as the television show depicted a secret world, "a universe unfolding outside the ordinary," so did Chileans occasionally catch glimpses of the grim secret world just under the surface of ordinary life. In one remarkable scene, the narrator's mother recalls seeing a man throw himself under a bus in an attempt, readers later learn, to free himself from the agents bent on torturing him. These rifts in the understandable universe reveal what is normally hidden: "While we were having lunch that day, eating the casserole or stew my grandmother had made, Carlos Contreras Maluje was probably getting beaten in a cell on Calle Dieciocho, a few blocks from my old house."

In her novel, Fernández musters her courage and empathetic imagination to stare into the Twilight Zone, to look deep into a secret world that many would prefer to ignore or forget. The Twilight Zone is a frank look into a nation's subconscious and the dark dreams that haunt victims and perpetrators alike. --Hank Stephenson, the Sun magazine, manuscript reader

Shelf Talker: The Twilight Zone is a wide-ranging, empathetic novel that doubles as a heartrending inquiry into the scars left in the Chilean psyche by Pinochet's dictatorship.

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